Help sought after family and domestic violence
There are many formal and informal supports which may be used by people who experience family and domestic violence, including family and friends, health professionals and helplines. Information on how victims seek help can assist understanding and improvement of response strategies and provide information on the extent of under-reporting of family and domestic violence incidents in data collected as a by-product of service delivery. Data on advice or support (help) sought and received after the most recent experience of family and domestic violence is available from the ABS Personal Safety Survey (PSS) which collects information on the experiences of violence for women and men in Australia.
The visualisation below shows the proportion and number of females who sought advice or support after their most recent incident of physical and/or sexual violence by an intimate partner or other family member in the last 10 years. Women were more likely to have sought help after family and domestic physical assault by a male than after family and domestic sexual assault by a male (64% compared with 50%). Data are not available for male victims and some violence types due to data quality issues.
Female victims who sought advice or support after most recent incident of family and domestic violence, 2016
The visualisation below shows the different sources of help received by female victims after the most recent incident of physical and/or sexual violence by an intimate partner or other family member in the last 10 years. Friends or family members were the most common source of help for women following their most recent incident of family and domestic violence (regardless of type of violence).
Sources of advice or support received by female victims after the most recent incident of family and domestic violence, 2016
- Family and domestic violence is defined as any violence that occurs where the Personal Safety Survey (PSS) relationship of respondent to perpetrator is: Current or Previous partner; Father or Mother; Son or Daughter; Brother or Sister; Other relative or in-law; Boyfriend, Girlfriend or date; Ex-boyfriend or Ex-girlfriend.
- The PSS defines an intimate partner as a person who is either the Current or Previous partner; Boyfriend, Girlfriend or date; or Ex-boyfriend or Ex-girlfriend of the respondent.
- The PSS defines partner as a person the respondent lives with, or lived with at some point in a married or de facto relationship. A current partner is a person who, at the time of the survey, was living with the respondent in a marriage or de-facto relationship, and a previous partner is a person who lived with the respondent at some point in a marriage or de facto relationship, but who was no longer living with the respondent at the time of the survey.
The PSS collects details on the most recent incident of eight different violence types (Sexual assault by a male perpetrator; Sexual assault by a female perpetrator; Sexual threat by a male perpetrator; Sexual threat by a female perpetrator; Physical assault by a male perpetrator; Physical assault by a female perpetrator; Physical threat by a male perpetrator; Physical threat by a female perpetrator). Data are not available for all violence types due to data quality issues. Details are collected separately for each violence type and are unable to be added together to produce a total.
- The PSS defines physical assault as an act that involved the use of physical force with the intent to harm or frighten a person. Behaviours can include slaps, hits, punches, being pushed down stairs or across a room, choking and burns, as well as the use of knives, firearms and other weapons.
- The PSS defines physical threat as the threat of acts of a physical nature that were made face-to-face where the person believed it was able to and likely to be carried out.
- The PSS defines sexual assault as an act of a sexual nature carried out against a person's will through the use of physical force, intimidation or coercion, including any attempts to do this. This includes rape, attempted rape, aggravated sexual assault (assault with a weapon), indecent assault, penetration by objects, forced sexual activity that did not end in penetration and attempts to force a person into sexual activity. Incidents so defined would be an offence under State and Territory criminal law.
- The PSS defines sexual threat as the threat of acts of a sexual nature that were made face-to-face where the person believed it was able to and likely to be carried out.
- The PSS defines seeking advice or support as any instance where the respondent felt that they sought and consequently received advice or support for an incident. This may occur either at the time of the incident or at any time after. Advice or support means listening to the respondent, being understanding, making suggestions, giving information, referring the respondent to appropriate services, or offering further help of any kind. Excludes anyone who was told or found out about the incident, but from whom the respondent did not actively seek advice or support, and care sought for injuries which did not involve the respondent seeking advice or support.
- Most recent incident is limited to the last 10 years only.
- For the visualisation on sources of advice or support, the proportion is based on victims who sought advice or support after most recent incident, not all victims. For example, 16.9% of female victims who sought help after their most recent incident, felt that they received advice or support from police.
- Components for sources of advice or support sought after most recent incident are not able to be added together to produce a total. Where a person has sought advice or support from more than one source, they are counted separately for each source but are counted only once in the aggregated total.
- Other sources of help, includes support from financial service, government housing and community services, and priest/minister/rabbi/other spiritual advisor.
- The PSS collects information from women and men aged 18 years and over
Survey data, obtained from a sample of the population, is subject to sampling error. Where estimates are subject to a level of sampling error too high for general use, they are not included in visualisations, but are included in data tables, with caveats.
- The observed value of a rate may vary due to chance even where there is no variation in the underlying value of the rate. The margin of error is the largest possible difference (due to sampling error) that could exist between the estimate and what would have been produced had all persons been included in the survey. Confidence intervals—constructed by taking the estimate plus or minus the MoE— can be used to provide an approximate indication of the true differences between rates. If the confidence intervals do not overlap, the difference can be said to be statistically significant. However, statistically significant differences are not necessarily the same as differences considered to be of practical importance. Small differences that have practical importance may be found to be not statistically significant as they are below the threshold the significance test can reliably detect.
- For more information see Methods, Glossary and Data sources.
Next expected: 2022